Thursday, September 15, 2005

Electoral Commission Decision: Justification For Land Grab

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale — USA — 14 September, 2005

The decision of the National Electoral Commission issued on September 12, 2005 to nullify the parliamentary elections in Hargeisa`s coastal areas is both unfair and dangerous. It is unfair because it violates the tenets of Somaliland constitution which clearly defines that the boundaries of Somaliland six regions are those of 1960 and this embattled coastal zone falls within the jurisdiction of Hargeisa Region. It is dangerous, too, because it has justified the dispute over this land and put its ownership in question creating a situation in which both Hargeisa Region and Awdal Region can claim it in future.

The Electoral Commission did just what president Riyale (The silent cobra) and his close associates in the land annexation hoped for which is to subject the western coast of Hargeisa Region to legal wrangle between Hargeisa Region and Awdal Region so it could go his way while he is in office. This land grab with presidential power and the disguised justification of the Electoral Commission could bear serious consequences unless Hargeisa`s jurisdiction is respected. The ballot boxes of the parliamentary election for Hargeisa`s coastal zone should have been handed over to Hargeisa Region instead of cancelling them.

President Riyale was once quoted, “ My tribe needs the land grab for having its population increased.” What on earth is he talking about? That is both insane and silly to justify illegal confiscation of land. No one has the right to confiscate land for demographic reasons. What the president does not understand is that mortality, birthrate, and population increase are same and uniform throughout Somaliland. The reason why he is grabbing this coastal area of Hargeisa Region for Awdal Region is because it is rich in both mineral and fishing resources. If some of the original residents of these Hargeisa`s coastal areas moved away temporarily from this coast for safety reasons in the 1980s when Siad`s Regime was targeting them, it is not acceptable that it is claimed by newcomers taking advantage of that situation.

The new parliament, which is expected to be elected on September 29, 2005, should reaffirm the original boundaries of Somaliland regions and reinstate the 1960 jurisdictions.

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale


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